Conflicting data have been reported about the frequency and function of regulatory T cells in multiple myeloma. Most studies have investigated peripheral blood rather than bone marrow Tregs and side-by-side comparisons with bone marrow from healthy donors have still not been made. In this study, we show that regulatory T-cells total count, subset distribution, and expression of chemokine receptors are similar in the bone marrow of myeloma patients and healthy donors. Regulatory T cells are not recruited by myeloma cells in the bone marrow and their counts are unaffected by the tumor burden and the disease status. The diversity of T-cell receptor repertoire is highly preserved ensuring broad reactivity and effective suppressor function. Our results indicate that regulatory T cells may not be the main players of immunological tolerance to myeloma cells under base-line conditions, but their fully preserved immune competence may promote their inadvertent activation and blunt T-cell driven antimyeloma immune interventions even after myeloma cells have successfully been cleared by chemotherapy.
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